A popular Italian tart that is part pie or tart and part cake, crustata or crostata is made with ricotta cheese and jam and is a popular dessert that is not too sweet. This version by Chef Joe Calabro’s features the classic ricotta and eggs, as well as lemon and orange zest that have been finely grated and peeled, and golden raisins.
This recipe requires two preparations: the sweet dough and the crustata flan filling. To make the sweet dough, you need milk, all-purpose flour, cold water, fresh yeast, salt, and white sugar. The all-purpose flour should be sifted and measured to get a precise amount. For the crustata filling, you need whole wheat, butter, milk, eggs, sugar, ricotta, lemon zest, orange zest, shortening and eggs.
In Italy, crostata is known by many names including “coppi” in Naples and “sfogliate” in Lombardy. It has a crusty appearance and like an open-faced canapé or sandwich, traditionally consisting of a base with three layers and a fried dough. It is also sometimes compared to chewet, which is a kind of meat pie. Crostata can also be prepared as a savory dish with precooked meat, fish or vegetables as filling. Similar to the French galette, crostata is a rustic preparation and a free-form version of the open fruit tart. Crostata can also be baked in a pie plate.
Once the filling is in the tart pastry and the lattice top is in place, brush an egg wash over it. This gives the finished crustata a golden appearance, as well as a tender flakiness. To make an egg wash, begin by breaking an egg into a bowl. If desired, add just a little bit of milk or water to thin the egg slightly. Whisk the egg. Use a pastry brush to apply the wash over the pastry before placing it in the oven.
Sweet Dough:3 Scald milk in a medium saucepan. Add cold water to scalded milk. Remove 1/4 cup liquid; mix yeast into liquid when cooled to lukewarm. To liquid in saucepan, add salt, sugar, shortening, and eggs. Add dissolved yeast to saucepan. Mix well.
Sift and measure the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the flour, and pour the liquids into the well. Stir with a large wooden spoon until liquid disappears.
With one hand, mix dough in bowl using swinging rotary motion. Gradually form dough into smooth ball, then knead in bowl for 2 minutes. Brush top with melted shortening. Cover, and allow dough to rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Do not set bowl on radiator or in hot place. Keep away from draughts. Allow dough to rise until doubled in bulk.
-Punch down dough. Use dough for any sweet bread recipe.
Crustata Flan Filling:Roll the sweet dough, when it’s at room temperature, on a floured surface. Roll it flat, and then lay it into a flan pan, pressing the dough into the sides.
To make the filling, mix wheat, butter and milk together in a pan, and cook it for a bit, then cool it to room temperature. Put the wheat mixture into a large bowl. Add eggs, and whisk them in. Then add sugar, and whisk again. Add Ricotta cheese to the filling mixture. Add lemon zest and orange zest.
Pour mixture into the flan shell, and cut strips of sweet dough, to create a lattice over the top of the flan. Brush an egg wash over the top of the pastry, and place into the over at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes.